I’m reading When Women Pray, by T.D. Jakes. Each chapter has a powerful story about women who prayed and how their prayers changed the world. In honor of Women’s History month starting March 1, I would like to write about the woman who “touched the hem of His garment”. You can find the story in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. She had been sick for 12 years with an “issue of blood” which kept her in isolation. If she ever came out publicly, she would have to yell, “Unclean!” This alerted others to not come close or to touch her. She had spent all her money on trying to get well, and she was all out of options until Jesus showed up that day in her village.
An important man, a synagogue leader, rushed to Jesus in the crowd and pleaded with Him to heal his only daughter who was dying. The man was given attention because of his position and his gender. He was also given a name–Jairus. At the same time, “the woman with the issue of blood” desired healing. She was desperate. She was so desperate that she broke the rules. She ignored the comments, overcame the cultural and systemic barriers, and proclaimed her value.
“Make no mistake: this world will always try to convince you that you’re not enough. Not valuable enough. Not respected enough. Not good enough. Not clean enough. Not holy enough. Not financially secure enough. Not socially accepted enough. Not feminine enough. Not smart enough.” (Jakes, 2020, p. 66)
This did not stop her. She had heard about Jesus, and she felt in her spirit that it was the right time and the right place. She did not give up. And, my dear sister, neither should you EVER give up. You are God’s dearly, beloved child. He adores you. This woman who was a “no named human”, sick, and considered unclean turned the heart of Jesus. He slowed down, hesitated, and had time for her. He felt her touch the hem of His garment, and He felt power go out of Him. “Who touched me?”, asked Jesus. Everyone assured Him that many had touched Him, but Jesus felt the power of a desperate, praying woman. Oh, how Jesus lifted women and put them in a place of honor! In a time where culture placed women in categories, Jesus claimed her as His. A daughter of the King.
“Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” (Mark 5: 33-34)
“No longer was she cut off and excluded from society. No longer was she identified solely by her issue.” (p. 73)
There is so much in this story we can talk about: her faith, her suffering, the compassion of Jesus, cultural and historical context, and the response/dialogue of Jesus and the woman. I’d like to focus on the deliverance from being defined as a person with an issue.
We are not our issues.
I want to spend more time in prayer and conversation on the things that speak hope and a future.
“No matter how desperate your circumstances may seem right now, there is relief in your future. There is hope in your future. There is healing. So don’t stop praying. Just like the woman with the issue of blood, do not stop reaching until you’ve grabbed hold of God. He’s hesitating in that crowd, slowing down right in front of you. Don’t stop praying until you hear His voice” (p. 74).
My dad wrote a beautiful song called, “She Touched the Hem of His Garment”. It was later recorded by Jimmy Davis. He wrote the song for his sister, Polly, who was struggling with health issues that were similar. During my Bible study group, my sweet sister provided time for us to sing his song. The memory of practicing with Parish and Valentina was precious and healing. Being in Bible study with my mom and sharing dad’s music was a gift. We tried so hard to find my dad’s recording, but it was God’s plan for us to participate as a family in learning the song. God is good. The recordings are here for our family’s legacy and story–real, authentic, nothing fancy, just us loving each other and Jesus.
Thank you Valentina. I celebrate you this month! A strong, courageous woman who leads from a place of great compassion.